More Older Americans and Nonwhites Are Getting News via Social Networks

74 percent of non-whites get news from social media sites

67 percent of U.S. adults get at least some of their news from social media
AndreyPopov/iStock

More Americans aged 50 and up are getting news via social media sites, according to a new study from Pew Research Center.

Pew found that 67 percent of the 4,971 U.S. adults it surveyed between Aug. 8 and 21 get at least some of their news from social media, up from 62 percent in early 2016, with 20 percent saying they do so often.

For the first time since Pew began conducting these surveys, more than one-half (55 percent) of Americans 50 or older said they get news from social networks, up 10 percentage points from last year.

Pew also found that 74 percent of non-whites get news from social media sites, up from 64 percent last year, and the numbers for those with less than a bachelor’s degree were 69 percent and 60 percent, respectively.

Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat experienced significant year-over-year upticks.

74 percent of Twitter users surveyed said they get news from the social network, up 15 percentage points versus 2016.

32 percent of YouTube users get news from the Google-owned video site, up from 21 percent in early 2016.

And messaging application Snapchat saw its total rise to 29 percent from 17 percent.

When examining the U.S. population as a whole, the largest social network accounted for the largest percentage of people using it as a news source, with 45 percent of U.S. adults getting news via Facebook, representing 68 percent of its user based.

YouTube surged into second place, with 18 percent of U.S. adults turning to the video site for news.

Although a whopping 74 percent of Twitter users get news from the site, its smaller user base translates into just 11 percent of U.S. adults doing so.

Pew also found that 26 percent of U.S. adults get news from two or more social media platforms, up from 18 percent in 2016.

Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp users were the most likely to get news via multiple social networks, according to Pew, with at least 90 percent of those platforms’ users doing so.

Pew also examined the overlaps between social networks, finding that Instagram users who get news from the Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing network are more likely to do so on Snapchat, as well (40 percent), while the reverse was true for LinkedIn users (8 percent).

Due to its overwhelming user base, Facebook overlaps with most of the other social networks, with at least 48 percent of users who get news from other social media sites also doing so from Facebook.